06/07/2004

Queen's student opens door to drug work

A Queen's University Pharmacy student has carried out work on how pharmacists and church groups can help illicit drug users.

Twenty-two year-old Ciara Devenny, from Randalstown, who graduated on Monday, undertook the work for the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland as part of the University's Science Shop initiative, which puts students in touch with a variety of community groups who need specialist research skills to develop their work.

Ciara, who is a former pupil of St. Mary's Grammar School in Magherafelt, said she was particularly interested in carrying out a research based project as part of her final dissertation and was delighted to be able to meet statutory and voluntary bodies, as well as community pharmacists.

Her work enabled the Faith and Drugs Forum, funded by the Eastern Drugs and Alcohol Co-ordination Team, to identify unique services provided by Forum members and ensure that gaps in the system were closed.

According to Heather McKinley, from the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland, Ciara produced a report which would be of use to all the groups working under the umbrella of the Evangelical Alliance.

"Her report suggested gaps in services and proposed better joined-up ways of working, as well as being informative about current practice and coverage," she said.

The School of Pharmacy at Queen's was recently ranked No.1 among UK Pharmacy schools in the Times Good University Guide. Queen's scored 97.2% to top the list, which measures research and teaching quality, employability and intake as determined by 'A' level points scores.

(MB)

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